MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The metaverse can look and feel more real than the online social interactions and gaming experiences we’re used to – leaving consumers potentially vulnerable.
Researchers predict that the global metaverse market could be worth about $680 billion by 2030.
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“The metaverse is a virtual reality world where you can go to concerts, you can see famous and really cool people around the world,” said 12-year-old Cooper Stone.
Cooper plays video games like Fortnite and uses his virtual reality headset to play sports.
And in the future, those experiences will likely seem more real, as Jason Rubin of Meta, formerly called Facebook, told CBS News in February in an interview conducted in a virtual reality program.
“Slowly but surely, I think that things you can do in the metaverse, and the amount of time you spend in virtual reality in the metaverse will slowly increase to the point where we really become an immersive world,” Rubin said.
So, it’s no surprise that companies are seeking ways to create experiences, and make money, in the metaverse.
But where there’s money to be made, the criminals won’t be far behind.
“We totally expect them to move into this,” said Kevin Gosschalk, who is with the cybersecurity firm Arkose Labs. “The moment there’s a valid metaverse spun out that has a real money mechanism where they can make money, they’ll be in there day one.”
He showed CBS News how in chat rooms, conversations are already going on about how to exploit the metaverse for fraud.
“Criminal marketplaces to sell identities, to sell Social Security numbers,” he said. “The way they do it may be slightly different, but what they’re trying to achieve is money and the goal of doing it, duping somebody into giving them money, they’re going to be aligned.”
Cooper and his parents say they already got scammed when hackers broke into his Fortnite account last year and charged up his parents’ credit cards.
“They were like, ‘Cooper, did you spend $25 or $50 on this game without my permission?’ And I’m like, ‘No,’” he said.
“We investigated a little bit more and found out that he had not done it,” said Nina Stone, Cooper’s mom.
“Everyone is looking to make money off the metaverse,” said Caroline Wong. “And the hackers go where the money is.”
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Wong, with cybersecurity firm Cobalt.io, says criminals’ attacks can take on more disturbing forms. …….